Britain’s divisions go way, way back

The Norman legacy has not died out on this side of the Irish Sea, either. As late as 1800 people with Norman surnames were eight times as likely to be MPs than the general population but even today people whose paternal ancestors won in 1066 tend to be richer than the poor Saxons.

As Gerald Grosvenor, the late Duke of Westminster put it, when asked by a young journalist what advice he’d give to young entrepreneurs hoping to emulate him: “Make sure they have an ancestor who was a very close friend of William the Conqueror.”

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